When your average viewer looks at a great photo, the first instinct is usually to credit the camera. That, of course, is rather silly given that most of the photos you see in a museum were taken with cameras so primitive you’d be more likely to throw them out than use them. The slightly more sophisticated viewer is likely to look at other factors, such as the photographer’s skill in composition and perhaps photo editing. While these factors no doubt place some distance between a professional and the casual snap-shot taker, perhaps the greatest factor separating the average tourist snapping photos off in a park and Ansel Adams is something rarely noted: patience.
Ansel Adams didn’t just take a weekend trip to Yosemite and click off a few quick shots, he lived there. That’s how he captured perfect shots of the moon in just the right location over a cliff and found clouds that seemed to dance. Only by going to incredible locations day after day after day was he able to capture the perfect images we so rightly admire.
I’m probably more guilty than most when it comes to impatience in my photography. I rarely stay in the same place for a long time and I even have an disproportionate aversion to rain, which keeps me from going out to get those moody weather shots. Still, as I settle into these months of a more stable existence I’ve begun to try to develop some of what I seem to lack so severely. My new hobby of cross country skiing seems to be helping as well as it gives me more time outdoors in the bitter cold I’d otherwise try to hide from.
I’ve never done well with solitude and the isolation of this winter not something I would have wished for. Even so, as I work on this current project and begin to see some progress in my photos of the lake I’m reminded again that it’s truly a rare situation that doesn’t present an opportunity for growth. How beautifully art mirrors life…“Make your ego porous. Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing. Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything.”